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Police investigate shooting at 7th and Red Cross Streets (Photo: Sarah Johnson/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One man shot and killed, a young woman shot and left on life support, and then two men force their way into a home shooting one of the people inside. It was a violent weekend in Wilmington.

Wilmington Police Deputy Chief Mitch Cunningham said 17 people have been murdered in the Port City so far in 2017.

“Unfortunately there is a certain group of people who use guns to solve disputes,” Cunningham said.

He said it’s a culture of violence.

“It starts when folks are very young and they see other people using guns and it’s just a culture that feeds upon itself,” he said.

Cunningham says while some of these incidents are random acts of violence, others are planned over time.

“Some of these disputes can be based on very immediate spontaneous interaction, sometimes people will engage in retribution for an incident that happened a year, two years ago,” he said.

While gang violence and drug related crimes are a big problem, Cunningham says that’s just one piece of an even bigger issue.

“What we’re seeing actually is a greater proportion of homicides that are really domestic in nature,” he said.

But he adds, getting guns off the streets is no simple task.

“There’s lots and lots of guns in our community and so it’s not difficult if someone wants to use a gun to settle a dispute to find one,” he said.

Cunningham says compared to a couple of years ago, people are now coming forward and reporting more crime when it happens.

So far, police say there have been no arrests in any of the weekend shootings.


Comment on this Story

  • Marvin Mellott

    Get off of the “guns are the problem kick”. I own several guns and they’ve never assaulted me nor have they ever shot at me, ever. However, some of the people you “catch and release” on the streets will use guns for that reason. Make crimes involving firearms have a much steeper penalty. Stop slapping them on the wrist and babying them with the old ‘it’s not their fault, it’s their environment” crap. I grew up in Balto., Md in the 1960’s and 1970’s, don’t tell me about environment. Yet here I am, a proud gun owner, not breaking the law nor using my guns to commit crimes. Stop coddling and start giving out harsher punishments. If the judges you elected are too liberal and soft, then damned well vote them out. Easy fix. They are the ones hamstringing the cops. Either be part of the solution or stop speculating.

    Another issue is in fact the local police department and county sheriff. I see my tax dollars wasted and crime not being paid attention to, all because they want to use law enforcement as crossing guards at schools. Stop patronizing these people. There are school buses make them use them. Stop cluttering our streets and raising pollution levels by idling for an hour to pick up a spoiled child. If the cops weren’t acting as crossing guards they could make their presence known.

    If I were to plan a crime, it’s be either time of the day that the “crossing guards” were on duty. I know then there won’t be enough around to stop me, lmfao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ohreally

    Agreed, but the PD also needs to make themselves PREEMPTIVELY visible 24/7 on Wooster and Dawson and be RELENTLESS . These 2 roads are major in/out routes to Wilmington. Clean it up now, before innocent commuters/visitors get killed in the crossfire.

  • Christopher Meyers

    With all due respect Deputy Chief, please take note here. You aren’t going to get “guns” off the street and you very well know that. You don’t have a “gun” problem in the first place! What you have is a “criminal running free” problem. That “certain group of individuals using guns to solve disputes” you refer to are “known and repeat criminals” that commit this gun related violence. The very same ones that are wearing out that revolving courtroom door, the ones that walk out and laugh at the judges and DA’s, the ones that are violent criminals, continually unleashed into a law-abiding society by our justice system only to commit more crime. You and your officers see it everyday, you arrest them and you see them right back out on the streets, right back in your laps all over again…and again…and again.
    If the criminals were to remain in prison where they belong, they wouldn’t be out selling drugs and using stolen weapons to do their business you refer to as “disputes”. When I look up these perps that show up on the news and see that some of them have in excess of 40 FELONY convictions, that clearly displays a serious problem and THAT has NOTHING to do with guns!
    Never forget; Criminals don’t give a flyin’ rats backside about any rules, gun laws or human lives. Anything goes with them and they’ll walk away smiling about it!

    • John

      With all due respect, when you have a tenth of the experience and education as the Deputy Chief I will consider listening to your opinions and suggestions.
      The Deputy Chief is using DATA and EXPERIENCE to base his thoughts on. You are uneducated and uninformed on this extremely complicated and difficult subject.
      Yes, you have the right to express your opinion BUT by commenting on a subject in which you have no experience or education you make all of your opinions questionable which is unfortunate because some of your comments are indeed worthy of consideration.
      Stick to things you know about. People will pay more attention to your thoughts that way.

      • guest45

        with all due respect John, if Deputy Chief has so much education and experience then why is Wilmington and New Hanover out of control?????

        Time to fire all these experieinced and educated folks and put some regular, common sense, gool old boys in those positions, some that are not afraid to go out and walk those streets and get us some results, I for one am not impressed one bit with the violence that continues to spread in the city of Qilmington and fear for my family anytime they have to go into that rat infested mess, and the main roads in and out of the city are where a lot of the trouble is, making them doubly pitiful.

        One wrong turn or breakdown and you can have said goodbye forever to your loved ones, let’s get some people of action in these positions of experience and knoweldge!

      • John

        Really Guest 45? You just want a bunch of uneducated Policemen in town? What you are asking for is chaos, not rule of law. Go to a police academy and tell me those folks are uneducated and inexperienced. If I where to go into a live fire situation I would WANT and educated and experienced partner.

      • guest45

        I don’t care if the police got past the 6th grade, I want results, I want my family and your family John to be able to walk the town 24/7 and be safe, if it takes less education to get the job done than so be it! So far there is no results to show for who we got. Boots on the ground, not sitting in an office staring at a bunch of feel good awards, that is not working.

        And if I go into a live fire situation I want the most qualified man standing beside me, I want someone who is not afraid to get out on the streets and hunt criminals, robbers, thieves and murderer’s!

      • Christopher Meyers

        G45 didn’t say that at all. He’s simply pointing out the facts that all of this “education” you puff your chest out about doesn’t appear to be “effective” in solving the problems of escalating violence and murder rates. The “experience” appears to be the wrong type for the problem resolution of reducing the murder rate as well. It isn’t working.
        Talk of getting guns off the street is all well, fine and mostly unrealistic, but you get the CRIMINALS off the street and you’ll accomplish something, especially the repeat offenders burning up that revolving courtroom door. Take a day of your time and go to district and federal court, sit and watch. You’ll be amazed at the violent thugs that are released among us on a daily basis!

      • Christopher Meyers

        John, you’ve already read my post and it doesn’t matter to me whether you agree or not. The Deputy Chief isn’t using data or experience at all, he’s using political rhetoric, because his theory of eliminating guns on the streets is impossible at this point and IS NOT the root cause of the inherent problem. The remainder of us realize how the justice systems dumps violent felons in front of you and I every day and these violent crimes are committed by those violent felons. I confirm that FACT daily and it’s very simple to do.
        In addition, you know absolutely nothing of my background to include my education, experience or what I may “know about”, but thank you for reading my post and for your opinion. The bottom line is, that if you or your family are ever personally affected by one of these violent criminals unleashed onto society, it will change your life forever and you, yourself, will have a much better insight and understanding as to where the true problem lies!

      • cheese101

        Christopher is pretty accurate with his statements. There is very little in the way of harsh punishment for repeat violent offenders. Criminals don’t care about how many laws are passed as that is what a criminal does, disregards the law. Until there is serious consequences for breaking the law we will have criminals doing as they please. For every one guy you see on the news getting 10+ year prison sentence, how many others are getting another chance on probation or 1-2 years for violent offenses?

      • John

        I do not understand why you folks do not understand simple civics. The Police Department has NOTHING to do with punishment. That is the courts job and those people are ELECTED. If you have a problem with that part of the criminal justice system then you must do 2 things.
        1. allow more money to be spent on incarceration.
        2. VOTE for judges who are tough on crime.
        The problem you are complaining about is the courts, NOT the police.

      • cheese101

        I don’t understand why you make assumptions about other people that you know nothing about. I’m fully aware the police don’t make law but enforce them. Neither Christopher or myself were complaining about police but the lack of punishment from courts. Guns are not the problem as I have well over 20 of them and none of mine have ever been used in a crime, shot a person or used in any violent manner.

      • Christopher Meyers

        John, you are partially correct here, the problem IS with the justice system and with them constantly allowing violent felons back out on the streets among us. This is where 90% percent of the violence comes from.
        However, I know, understand and sympathize with our law enforcement that they are dealing with these repeat violent offenders that keep coming out of that revolving courtroom door. They’re arresting the same people over and over and over again, all to no avail. I will not accept a statement saying that “…getting the guns off the street will solve the area violence problem…” First of all, that isn’t going to happen. Second, the criminal is a criminal and will use ANY weapon to accomplish his goals. I’ll state this simply so it is clear to you. The violent criminals are creating the violent crime, if you want to reduce violent crime, you keep the violent felons OFF THE STREET!

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